About 65% of preschool children who were diagnosed with ADHD and given stimulant drugs were still taking those drugs three and six years later, according to a study in Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. About 10% were also being prescribed an antipsychotic.
Led by a National Institute of Mental Health researcher, the study was a three-year and six-year follow-up on the Preschool ADHD Treatment Study, reassessing about two hundred of the original 303 children.
“At year three, overall, 34 percent were on no pharmacotherapy, 41.3 percent were on stimulant monotherapy,” summarized Psychiatric News. “9.2 percent on atomoxetine (alone or with a stimulant); 8.3 percent on an antipsychotic, usually together with a stimulant; and the remaining 7.2 percent were on other pharmacotherapy. Overall, 65.0% were on an indicated ADHD medication.”
At year six, the numbers were similar, except a higher percentage — 13.4% — had had an antipsychotic added to their regimen.
Vitiello, Benedetto, Deborah Lazzaretto, Kseniya Yershova, Howard Abikoff, Natalya Paykina, James T. McCracken, James J. McGough, et al. “Pharmacotherapy of the Preschool ADHD Treatment Study (PATS) Children Growing Up.” Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Accessed May 6, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2015.04.004. (Abstract)